If you face a sex offense charge, you need to know the facts about sex offender plea bargain agreements which can reduce your charge and your punishment. Our law firm has answers for you.
First, keep in mind that sex offenses are sensitive and more individualized than many other crimes. That is, the individual circumstances of each case can greatly affect the outcome.
Perhaps as a result, plea bargains are more likely to occur for sex crimes than for many other offenses.
What is a plea bargain?
It means your sex crime defense lawyer and the case’s prosecutor agree to a resolution of the case out of court, with no need for a trial. You, of course, must also agree to the terms.
This agreement occurs after a charge has been filed but before a trial is held. Either side can initiate a plea agreement, and both sides can negotiate the details of its resolution.
To achieve a plea agreement, the sex offender typically agrees to plead guilty in the case—thus allowing the prosecutor to avoid a costly and time-consuming trial—in exchange for concessions from the prosecutor, such as a reduced charge or a minimized punishment.
Keep in mind that part of such a plea bargain may be that while the defendant pleads guilty, they may plead guilty to a lesser charge than the original charge. Such a reduced charge can be part of the plea bargain agreement.
Also, if the defendant was charged with multiple counts of an offense, part of the plea bargain may be reducing the number of counts—perhaps to only one.
Usually the judge in the case accepts the plea agreement and the case is resolved.
Such plea agreements occur often because prosecutors lack the resources to try every case. It also helps when defendants—especially first-time alleged offenders—are considered a low risk to repeat a crime.
In Houston and throughout Texas, such plea bargains or plea agreements can be very helpful to defendants in a sex crime case, since punishments for sex crimes in Texas can be extremely harsh. They can include years in prison, hefty fines and a requirement to register as a sex offender.
For defendants, sex offender plea agreements can help by:
- Reducing a charge
- Allowing conviction on a misdemeanor charge instead of a more damaging felony charge
- Reducing the number of counts in a charge
- Reducing or eliminating jail time
- Providing probation instead of jail time
- Reducing or eliminating fines
- Avoiding having to register as a sex offender
For the last benefit, keep in mind that a reduced charge may be necessary in order to avoid having to register as a sex offender.
For some sex offense charges, a conviction means the defendant must register as a sex offender. Only a reduced charge would avoid this, which is why a reduced charge may be needed in a sex offense plea agreement to avoid sex offender registration.
Texas defense attorneys fighting for our clients
Our sex crime defense lawyers are experienced in negotiating plea bargains to our clients’ advantage. We know what it takes to gain the best plea bargain results—and whether to accept a plea agreement in the first place.
Contact us for a confidential legal review of your case. You may have a strong enough defense to get a charge reduced or even dropped before trial, without having to plead guilty as part of a plea bargain. Or you may want to consider a plea bargain agreement.